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"Iowatapdancers" by Jack Delano - This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID fsa.8d04633.

“Iowatapdancers” by Jack Delano – United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID fsa.8d04633.

Shake, shuffle, sniff, go and shout! While this might sound like a new dance, these words refer to some of the common symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease. And, much like learning a new dance, we have to figure out what steps to take to manage all of them in our daily living.

We polled 35 Parkinson’s Women Support members to see if they noticed themselves shaking, shuffling, with an impaired sense of smell, experiencing constipation, or soft voiced.

Shaking

  • 12 women were under 50
  • 12 women were under 50
  • 11 women were in their 50s
  • 6 women were in their 60s
  • 6 women didn’t have that symptom
    82.86% of women polled experienced shaking

Shuffling

  • 7 women were under 50
  • 12 women were in their 50s
  • 7 women were in their 60s
  • 9 women didn’t have that symptom
    74.29% of women polled experienced shuffling

Diminished Smell

  • 10 women were under 50
  • 11 women were in their 50s
  • 3 women were in their 60s
  • 11 women didn’t have that symptom
    68.57% of women polled experienced diminished smell

Constipation

  • 14 women were under 50
  • 6 women were in their 50s
  • 4 women were in their 60s
  • 11 women didn’t have that symptom
    68.57% of women polled experienced constipation

Soft Voice

  • 5 women were under 50
  • 11 women were in their 50s
  • 8 women were in their 60s
  • 11 women didn’t have that symptom
    62.86% of women polled experienced soft voice

If you have Parkinson’s disease and you are bothered by these symptoms, you’re in good company. The majority of the women in this poll have similar problems! Check with your doctor, because there are many treatments for each of these symptoms.

Tremor and Shuffling: Treatment includes exercise, such as PWR!, dance, boxing and more; medication, or a surgical procedure called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS).

Some helpful stretching and flexibility exercises are:

  • Face a wall about 8 inches away and reach your arms upward.
  • Place your hands on the wall for balance and stretch out your arms and back.
  • Place your back against the wall for support and briskly march in place lifting your knees as high as possible.
  • Sit in a chair with a high straight back and stretch your arms behind the chair, bringing your shoulders back as far as you can. As you stretch, lift your heat toward the ceiling.

Smell Impairment: Chat with your doctor because smell testing can help diagnosticians differentiate between PD and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Constipation: drink plenty of water (6-8 glasses), try warm liquids in the mornings, add fiber-rich foods with bran, whole-grain cereals, fruits, vegetables (leave peel on), oatmeal, and nuts. Try not to drink alcohol. It acts as a diuretic and can aggravate constipation. Take Metamucil or another bulk former. Exercise. Talk to your doctor about other methods.

Voice that’s Soft:

  • Consult a speech-language therapist for effective throat exercises.
  • Try the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT®). LSVT® is the “gold standard” in treating speech disorders.

Yes, it’s a dance you’d rather not learn, but go ahead and shake, shuffle, sniff, go and shout! You’ll have some great friends to share the new dance with you!


About Parkinson’s Women Support: The mission of Parkinson’s Women Support is to offer moral support, encouragement and camaraderie for women who are Parkinson’s disease patients. Check out our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/parkinsonswomen

Thank you to Susan Foster for her editing assistance on this blog post.

 

 

 

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